Tech Volunteers Welcomed by Special Olympics


The River Valley is home to many special non-profit organizations, and Arkansas Tech students are always welcome to volunteer with Area 17 Special Olympics.

There are events hosted year-round for people who may be physically or mentally challenged, but are optimistically in search of respect, dignity, pride and opportunity.

Area 17 Director Darla Jones says college students are welcome at any event. “The athletes love having college students come out and cheer them on or help them train.”

Currently, the events taking place in Russellville are bowling in November and basketball in March.

Many events are held in Conway, including a Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics. Planning is underway to host a similar event in Russellville next year to include Arkansas Tech students who wish to plunge for a good cause.

Volunteer Coaches are required to undergo training every 3 years for their certifications in the sport they coach athletes.  Jones says they would gladly welcome physical education majors from Arkansas Tech looking for volunteer opportunities to be coaches.

Because Special Olympics provides free coaching and training to so many individuals, financial support from the community is what keeps the organization alive, especially for Area 17 as it is one of the largest regions in Arkansas.

As the River Valley becomes more involved with Special Olympics, more events will be added to the area for Area 17, which consists of Pope, Perry, Conway, Faulkner and Van Buren counties and Dardanelle.

Special Olympics, created in 1968, is an international organization that provides athletic training and personal growth. In Arkansas, the organization allows more than 14,000 individuals an opportunity to excel. Athletes are always told “You can do it!”

To find out specific ways you or your student organization can help, contact Jones at